50 years after televised election debates were introduced in the US, the UK will be having it's first this evening (8:30pm on ITV) between the leaders of the 3 main political parties: Gordon Brown (Labour), David Cameron (Conservative) and Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrats) and I think it'll be quite an interesting event.
First off, there are soooooo many rules surrounding the format of the debate, the recording of it and the audience participation that there's a risk it could be quite boring. That said, I can understand why there are quite so many rules: they should ensure things like responses and reactions will be as they happen with a reduced chance of media manipulation at the time, there should be no pandering to the audience or media, no rude behaviour from the audience (I hate this booing culture that's cropped up on TV - it shows a lack of respect) and most disappointing of all, there's not likely to be the juvenile bun-fight that is Prime Minister's Questions.
The things I'm interested in seeing is how well this format will work, how each candidate will conduct themselves, who makes the first gaffe, who makes the biggest gaffe and if any of my preconceptions of each candidate are accurate. Of course, it'll be interesting to see how they respond to the types of questions the average man on the street is likely to ask, though these will have been vetted to remove the stupid questions like "In today's economic climate, do you prefer pink or white marshmallows and why?".
For those who aren't interested in what's being said, you can always join The Times in Debate Bingo for the first 20 mins and then switch over to another channel for your TV fix - I recommend Have I Got News For You (I've already seen the Big Bang Theory on E4) followed by Outnumbered on BBC 1.